27 July 2023

The mammoth judging of young wines of the 2023 vintage is in full swing this week (24 – 28 July), with more than 1 250 entries competing for the top trophies, as well as gold, silver and bronze medals – for the SA Young Wines Show being held in the Johann Graue Hall at Nederburg in Paarl.

The SA Young Wine Show is one of the world’s oldest wine competitions, dating back to 1833 and is now in its 191st year.

The Cape of Good Hope Agricultural Society – which established the marketing name Agri-Expo in 1996 – has over all the years been actively involved with the remarkable SA Young Wine Show as owner and maintains its connection as patron until this very day. As such Agri-Expo has entrusted the SA National Wine Show Association (SANWSA) as organiser with the particularly impressive collection of gold and silver trophies, which are annually awarded to the winning winemakers.

The 2023 young wines entered, will compete for 17 coveted trophies in the various classes, with only one of the entries to be crowned as overall champion wine and receiving the sought-after General Smuts Trophy, which has been awarded since 1952. At the same time, the Pietman Hugo Trophy will be handed to the cellar with the highest total points for entries in five categories. Altogether 14 panels with more than 65 judges will be privileged to name the best young wines of the year.

The classes drawing the most entries this year were Other Red Cultivars, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Red Blends, Shiraz, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 17 competing categories for SA Champion glory among white wines are Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Other White Cultivars, Dry White Blends, Off-dry White Wines and Noble Late Harvest. Among the red wines, trophies will be awarded for the best Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, Shiraz, Other Red Cultivars and Dry Red Blends. The trophies in the fortified class comprise outstanding Cape Port Styles, Dessert Wine and Muscadel.

The comprehensive judging is this year accompanied by good news for wine lovers in that South Africa has once again yielded an excellent wine crop. The winemakers agree that wines of particularly high quality have been made this year, despite considerably varying and challenging climatic conditions during both the growing and harvesting periods. Consumers can look forward to enjoying the 2023 vintage wines once they are bottled.

“We are impressed by the quality of wines entered this year notwithstanding a difficult harvesting time and this positive mood in the industry is also reflected in the increased entries from all the winegrowing areas,” said SANWSA chairperson Christo Pienaar.

In the past five years the Young Wine Show boasts a major incentive for the main trophy winners. A partnership between the organisers and Porex SA – a prominent Paarl-based supplier of machinery and vinicultural equipment to the industry – has been formed, whereby the two respective winners of the General Smuts and Pietman Hugo Trophies are sponsored for a six-day visit to overseas wine countries.

The organisers have also announced that the SA Young Wine Show has welcomed a further five financial partners to the show – which are all well-known suppliers to the industry, namely Anchor Technology, Enartis, Laffort, Nexus and Standard Bank. Their representatives have all visited the judging at Nederburg in the past week.

Said Bennie Howard, vice-chairman of the SANWSA, “We are very excited about the support from our partners at this remarkable wine show, which will benefit the whole industry. They hereby ensure a bright future for the Young Wine Show – which is known as ‘the jewel’ of the industry.”

The awards function will be presented by the Paarl Young Wine Region, on Friday 25 August at the Dawn Mountains venue near Paarl, preceded by a tasting of all the gold medal winners of 2023.




Contact us for more information at tel 021 863 1599 or e-mail

Follow social media:


Twitter https:  //

Instagram:  sayoungwine

Join us on:  #sayoungwine.


Contact Bennie Howard, Vice-chairperson or Elsabé Ferreira, General Manager.

More Articles